Lovely thought or slightly icky - AIBU?

(122 Posts)
traininthedistance Sun 01-Dec-13 15:13:10

Sorry if too long! To set the scene, DD was born a few months ago. DH comes from a long family of extreme hoarders - nothing is too weird to keep; they have houses and houses full of their stuff and dead relatives' stuff. They are very well off - household incomes over 80k or more, but are also very very tight with money - DH's aunt's baby gift was two £1 soft toys from IKEA. (DD loves them more than any expensive item though, and I'm not at all precious about presents, this is just to give you an idea of the family background!)

DH's (step, much older) sister didn't give us a baby gift either - I thought it was strange in passing but she's buying a house so assumed money was a bit tight at the moment, no biggie, people don't have to buy us presents! Plus we live in a teeny tiny 2-bed modern flat with only one living room/kitchen and DD's room is minuscule, so we have literally nowhere to store anything and I'm happy to be very minimalist about stuff.

This week I found out from another relative that as a Christening gift to DD, DH's sister is making DD a patchwork quilt - out of their great-grandmother's old clothes. Great-grannie died about a decade ago and all her everyday clothes have been in DH's aunt's attic since then, so DD obviously never met her, and neither did I. Recently DH's aunt expressed a desire to get rid of the clothes but no-one wants to pack them off to the charity shop/landfill (but no-one else in the family wants them in their house to keep either). SIL apparently sees this quilt as a heritage family heirloom item that we are definitely not meant to get rid of.

AIBU to be a bit creeped out about the idea of this? I get that lots of people may say that this is a lovely idea and a nice thing to do; but I have already bought DD a lovely cotbed quilt and feel a bit odd and creeped out about a quilt made of a dead relative's clothes that I didn't even know.

I also think it's more related to the fact that SIL doesn't want to do the emotional work of getting rid of the clothes and is sort of offloading the sentimental responsibility of the clothes onto us if you see what I mean. I think it would be very different if we had expressed a desire to have it or had said we thought it would be lovely for DD, but she hasn't asked us....We really really don't have anywhere to put it to hang on to it.

(And last of all being very PFB I know but I had chosen the things for DD's room and it won't go....) It seems an awkward situation if SIL spends ages making this and we then have to say we don't really want it (though I could never say this - we'd just end up not saying anything, but then how do we deal with her expecting it to be used/kept as a family heirloom?) I really don't like the idea of the quilt at all for DD - sorry if I sound ungrateful!

What to do?

bababababoom Sun 01-Dec-13 15:17:23

I personally think it's a lovely idea and even if you don't keep it in your dd's room, you should accept it. Just because you don't like the idea, doesn't mean it won't mean anything to your dd as she gets older.

smaths Sun 01-Dec-13 15:17:44

I would accept the quilt, pretend to be pleased and stick it in the bottom of a drawer somewhere. If ever asked where it is, say it's in the wash, or you didn't want it to get puked on/peed on etc. I'm sure they won't expect you to have it on display at all times.

PrincessFlirtyPants Sun 01-Dec-13 15:17:45

I'm not sure what I would do...

What is going through my mind is why the relatives clothes confused why not give your daughter a nice piece of your relatives jewellery or something that tells her more about her relatives (photos etc)

I'm not sure I'd want a blanket made from someone else's clothes, seems a bit odd.

capsium Sun 01-Dec-13 15:17:49

I could be a wall hanging? Might look good.

harriet247 Sun 01-Dec-13 15:18:37

Smile say thankyou and fold it under dd cot,it doesnt have to be out it in open smile

JumpingJackSprat Sun 01-Dec-13 15:18:41

I think you need to either think of this as just material and say thank you for a gift made with love, or speak up and say if you really want to make a quilt I will provide material which matches decor. It's highly likely that the quilt will last longer than the decor. It sounds like a lovely thought and to be honest it's not for you is for the child. If you don't want it out then put it away until she is older. My nan has made me a patchwork blanket which doesn't match any of my decor but I'm so thankful that she has made v it. She made one for my partners child and he loves it to pieces.

PrincessFlirtyPants Sun 01-Dec-13 15:18:45

Strange offer capisum grin

peppersquint Sun 01-Dec-13 15:19:28

Eww - no I would not like it - but I would accept in good grace, hide it somewhere and bring it out if (and when) you got visits

ThisIsMeNow Sun 01-Dec-13 15:19:33

Can you store it under the cot? Had the aunt got kids? Who can you pass it on to as soon as possible next?

DuchessFanny Sun 01-Dec-13 15:19:35

Can you accept it and pop it away somewhere ? Only getting it out for visits or something ?
I can't see how you can refuse it without majorly offending her, as it sounds like it would a lot in her eyes ??

lessemin Sun 01-Dec-13 15:19:35

Well I would accept it then stick it in a vaccume bag and put it away somewhere.

capsium Sun 01-Dec-13 15:19:36
MrsRajeshKoothrappali Sun 01-Dec-13 15:19:41

Creepy and weird.

You didn't know her. Your child didn't know her.

Sounds like she wanted to make a quilt but didn't want to pay for fabric.

maddy68 Sun 01-Dec-13 15:19:46

I think that is a lovely idea! How can it be that she doesn't want the effort of getting rid of the clothes? It's far more effort to make a bleedin quilt

Fab41 Sun 01-Dec-13 15:19:57

Isn't it just vintage material? As long as you can give it a good hot wash, it will be fine!

lessemin Sun 01-Dec-13 15:20:57

X post
You lot type really fast!

capsium Sun 01-Dec-13 15:22:01

Oh I've spotted my mistake Princess grin Obviously I meant 'It'.

MiracleOntheM4 Sun 01-Dec-13 15:26:03

I also think that's a lovely idea and gesture. Lots of work will go into it and given the financial status of the family it is probably going to be high quality, vintage material.

rumbleinthrjungle Sun 01-Dec-13 15:28:54

I can see both sides. But then in the last year or two I got very interested in our family history and got to know a lot about my great great grandmother, a lady I never met and would have loved to know. I have a necklace of hers that is very precious to me and would love to have some of her clothes or things that belonged to her and would be over the moon to have a quilt like this.

I'd suggest wrapping it carefully, putting it in the loft and leaving it a decade or three. It may in time come to be very special to somebody in the family, not to mention the historical and antique/curio monetary value it may come to have of preserving these bits of fabrics, while putting it away might reduce the creep factor for you.

babyboomersrock Sun 01-Dec-13 15:30:14

The thing is, many quilters do use scraps of old clothing to make quilts. It's just unfortunate that you know whose clothes they were!

Difficult one. How often is she likely to visit? Rarely enough for you to store it elsewhere - your parents' attic, for example - bringing it out for auntie's visits? And are there likely to be other babies in the extended family to whom it could be passed on - soon - as an (ahem) heirloom?

You never know, OP, it could be made from fine antique silks and be a thing of beauty. On the other hand, it could be a 60s Crimplene horror.

squoosh Sun 01-Dec-13 15:31:51

Accept it, coo over it and if you still don't like it stick it in a drawer and forget about it. If she then makes your daughter a bracelet made of Granny's teeth maybe it's time to say something.

BillyBanter Sun 01-Dec-13 15:31:52

Doesn't creep me out but I suppose that depends on the finished article.

I'd just treat it like any other present. Maybe you'll like it, maybe you won't.

OneMoreThenNoMore Sun 01-Dec-13 15:35:07

Try to think of it as "vintage fabric" rather than a dead relative's clothes. Accept it graciously, give it a good wash and put it away if it's not to your taste. We received quite a few handmade gifts for our dcs; some we loved, some not so much, but we kept them all.

It might look really cool though! smile

traininthedistance Sun 01-Dec-13 15:36:31

Thanks all! I know it sounds like it could be a lovely idea. I infer that the clothes are more 60s/70s crimplene horror than fine vintage material though. We definitely haven't dove to hang it as a wall hanging....

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 01-Dec-13 15:41:53

It used to be very traditional to use old clothes/fabrics to make patchwork quilts as a baby gift. And its something that a huge amount of work goes into.

I have a friend who makes them from items given by the customer usually as a first birthday present its her only job and she's now a higher rate tax payer. So it can't be that weird.

traininthedistance Sun 01-Dec-13 15:42:33

dove? *space

capsium Sun 01-Dec-13 15:43:04

Picnic blanket? Beach mat? Crimplene would be quite...ahem...hard wearing.

Thisisaghostlyeuphemism Sun 01-Dec-13 15:46:32

Why does it creep you out? Why icky?

I don't get it...

WorrySighWorrySigh Sun 01-Dec-13 15:47:13

You dont have to treat this as an heirloom. So far as you are concerned it is a patchwork quilt (a personal taste in themselves) made out of second-hand fabric.

How does your DH feel about it? If he likes the idea then he can find a place to store it. If he doesnt like the idea then he needs to speak to his family and explain that you are just not into family heirlooms and wont be hanging on to anything on the behest of someone else.

And to answer the question why not some of great-granny's jewellery? Because IME this is how wealthy families hang on to their wealth! I have noticed in my family how so-called heirlooms (tat) are handed out with much wobbly-lipped emotion but strangely the things of value are held onto.

dopeysheep Sun 01-Dec-13 15:47:59

Sounds grim. Dunno how you can.refuse it though wihout sounding ungrateful. What a lot of hassle to make it is it definitely going to happen?

capsium Sun 01-Dec-13 15:50:16

I'd wait for it to emerge.... Is the aunt well known for quilting? They can take an age to make.

missinglalaland Sun 01-Dec-13 15:50:33

Let's see what it looks like wink. It could be a masterpiece or a bit "loving hands at home." If it is lovely, give it a good wash at 60 and hang it out in the fresh air to dry and presto, you have a nice pushchair-quilt, etc. It doesn't need to be in the nursery. If it is a bit naff, just say thanks and put it in the back of the closet.

The fact that it is your dc's great, great grandmother's clothes is an interesting detail that the your dd might enjoy. It's unusual but not creepy. I have some quilts made in the 1940s by my great grandmother. My mom used to wrap us up in them as kids when were ill on the couch in front of the telly. She could remember some of the fabrics and whose clothes they had been. As a kid I really liked hearing about the family and who had worn what. Kids like to know they are embedded in a great big family, not just now but always. Going backwards and forwards.

eatriskier Sun 01-Dec-13 15:50:48

I totally get where you are coming from but what does oh think? One of the last things my paternal gm made was a quilt for my cousin (maternal side). When I had dd aunt promised to dig it out for me. Gm died whilst I was pregnant with dd and whilst I wasn't on the closest terms with gm I'd have loved something like that for dd to have. Turns out it had been passed around and trashed by my maternal family who didn't care too much for it sad

If your dh doesn't seem too sentimental then accept in good grace and hide for your dcs sake as they may like it when older. If your dh is sentimental over it you may have to live with it.

ivykaty44 Sun 01-Dec-13 15:51:26

accept it with grace when it arrives, make a fuss over it and then put it away in the loft if at this time you don't like it - but you never know as you haven't seen it yet you may like it. Keep and open mind and e kind about the work put in

Helpyourself Sun 01-Dec-13 15:53:29

Don't panic. Unless she's quilted before, I doubt if it'll ever appear! They're much more work than she'll have expected. Just don't let her fob you off with a half made quilt- that really would be a white elephant.

not my sort of thing at all!

MrsCampbellBlack Sun 01-Dec-13 15:59:26

If it were lovely liberty fabrics, I'd think nice. But crimplene - umm not thanks.

I did laugh at Squoosh!

HoHolepew Sun 01-Dec-13 16:02:09

I can see it being nice if it's lovely vintage material like velvets, tweeds etc.
Polyester slacks - not so much.
Stick it in a cupboard.

fluffyraggies Sun 01-Dec-13 16:20:40

Reading this out to DH and we are both sitting here with 'eww, no' faces on OP. YANBU to feel a little creeped out by this idea.

I agree with the posters saying that this quilt will probably take an age to arrive (so no immediate action required?) and that it may not materialise at all in the end.

If/when it does arrive you'll just have to put it away 'for future generations to enjoy'. OR ask her to store it for you because your DD seems to have an allergy to the filling, sadly smile

Nottalotta Sun 01-Dec-13 16:29:03

My nan crocheted the most god awful blanket for me. It was used as the ill blanket, which was to be used when poorly on the sofa. I'm strangely attached to it now.

People often get stuff from charity shops to use as patchwork - could have been made of someone elses dead relatives clothes!

Caitlin17 Sun 01-Dec-13 16:31:59

If it were made of lovely old velvet, silk, etc yes but old crimplene slacks ugh.

Problem is, if it were made of lovely vintage material I'd rather by a long way have a whole , single garment as the heirloom rather than it being cut up.

lljkk Sun 01-Dec-13 16:32:11

If it's ugly: It's a puke & wee throw that you put down for baby when she needs nappy free time. Protects your carpets. Bargain.

If it's nice: something to hang on the wall elsewhere or adorn her bed when nicer stuff is in the machine. Must her room really be colour-coordinated at all times? Most babies don't spend much time in own room, anyway. Keep it in the car as a warm throw. Small spare blankets are useful.

Honestly, you will find a genuine use & if it doesn't survive gentle washing, oh well.

*Remind me why I must never make patchwork quilts for the ungrateful.

soverylucky Sun 01-Dec-13 16:44:26

Sounds fab to me and could look very nice. Could make a comfy playmat or something to picnic on in the summer.

NatashaBee Sun 01-Dec-13 16:56:31

Smile, thank the giver profusely, admire it, then pass it on to the next baby in the family, because its a family heirloom that everyone should get to appreciate smile

AnnaRack Sun 01-Dec-13 16:59:10

Depends how well made it is. If she's skilled at patchwork and chooses the right fabrics it could be lovely. Tell her it needs to be machine washable and she might give up on the idea . On the other hand if it's poorly made, mixing synthetics and cotton (which will make it fall apart in the wash as the fabrics shrink st different rates) then you can simply chuck it away feigning deep sadness snd hope she doesnt make you another one

lljkk Sun 01-Dec-13 17:02:31

You could ask her for a nappy bag instead, basically use same fabrics to make a patchwork bag you can carry out & about for multiple purposes.

Something tells me that OP would object if the fabrics were used to make, say, a patchwork teddy (on grounds of colour mismatch with decor).

If machine made it should be machine washable.

Sunflower49 Sun 01-Dec-13 17:02:35

I think It's a cute idea. A new life is to make use of things from one that's passed.
It would be a cutER idea had you known this woman and thus wanted your DD to 'remember' her and know of her, though!

It may be that she wants rid of the clothes but feels better about giving them to you in some way than to somebody she doesn't know (charity) or such, plus you get use out of it (ignoring the fact that you may not want to)!
DP is a hoarder, and I know he feels much better about getting rid of things if they're going to be used by somebody else, even though the end result for us is the same.
Accept gratefully and if you don't want to use it for DD stuff it in a cupboard somewhere until family visit lol

Salmotrutta Sun 01-Dec-13 17:07:29

I didn't think anyone beyond the age of about 10 used the word "icky".

<runs>

ThanSheSaid Sun 01-Dec-13 17:08:24

I think its a lovely idea AND a little bit creepy too grin.

I think you have to accept it, gush over it and possibly get it out when the relatives visit. It's a pain to store if you have no room but I don't see how you can get out of this one, especially as it will take her hours to make.

What does your DH think? I would let him deal with his family.

I don't get the big fuss about baby presents, most babies have tonnes of stuff and it's not as though the baby cares.

usuallyright Sun 01-Dec-13 17:18:23

I think it's a lovely idea and will take her hours and hours to complete. The greatest gift of all is time, so I'd be grateful (and put it in a drawer if it really is hideous, but I doubt it will be)

ImperialBlether Sun 01-Dec-13 17:19:48

Do people really think it's a lovely idea?

A lovely idea is when someone with good taste asks in advance whether you'd like a quilt and doesn't make it when you say no thanks. If "yes" is the answer the lovely person then shows you the type of fabric they were intending to use and asks whether you like it. If you say no thanks, they ask you to either supply your own or point them in the direction of the fabric you do like.

Making a quilt for a child without referring to the parents, out of an old lady hoarder's clothes because you don't want to throw away the clothes, is not, not, NOT a lovely idea. It's a justification of hoarding.

Does anyone really think the quilt that appears will be like those in that link? Really? It's more likely to be made out of old tights and knickers.

Balaboosta Sun 01-Dec-13 17:20:45

Oh god. YABU. It's not even made yet. It takes years to make a patchwork quilt. No way she's going to get round to that! Relax already.

TillyTotter1 Sun 01-Dec-13 17:43:31

I think you're being a bit mean. Hand sewn quilts take FOREVER to make between measuring, cutting, pinning etc. before you get near a needle. Even if it's not your cup of tea you should appreciate the thought behind it. At the end of the day, she will probably never be in the child's room anyway so you don't actually have to use it or you can just say you don't want to take the chance of it being ruined as she is so young.

Smile and say thank you for being so thoughtful

they might take forever to make but if the recipient doesn't want it, it's not much of a gift.
I could hammer you a giant metal gorilla posed as the statue of liberty. It would take me ages. Would you smile politely and say thank you?

Hedgehog80 Sun 01-Dec-13 17:58:57

If its clean then I don't think it would be a problem. Give it a good wash when you get it and if its hideous just put it away.

I have a lovely crochet bed jacket that was g g gm, I used to wear it when I was little as got cold in bed. I remember my DM always telling me that it was a dead persons bed jacket but that made me think it was even better (i was odd) Dh always laughs when I put it on as its not the prettiest thing but I like it !

WorrySighWorrySigh Sun 01-Dec-13 17:59:20

But what is the thought behind it?

Is it 'here is something for you to to love and keep forever'? Or is it 'here is something which you have to keep forever because I said so'?

Gifts like this seem to be all about the giver not the recipient.

ImperialBlether Sun 01-Dec-13 18:03:56

Exactly. It's "I'm going to give you this gift whether you like it or not."

JumpingJackSprat Sun 01-Dec-13 18:06:20

There are some right ungrateful bastards on this thread. Telling her the kids is allergic to it? Or that is been ruined through sick? Can I reiterate is not for you its for your child so all you can really do is say thanks and put it away for her in the future if you really can't bear for it to clash with the decor.

Or you could tell your sil the truth so she knows not to bother giving your child anything requiring thought and effort in the future as you won't appreciate it.

<ten foot gorilla for Jumping> grin

DeathByLaundry Sun 01-Dec-13 18:13:40

I can see both sides. In your shoes when I had a tiny pfb I would have felt exactly the same. However, three things have happened over the years which have changed my feelings.

MIL died. Everything is a bit more precious. Family history disappears a while lifetime at a time. It's not like years ebbing away slowly.

I took up crochet and realised the time and value of something handmade. I now truly treasure handmade things I was given for my children when they were babies.

And finally and most significantly, I've lightened up in a way that only several years of parenthood can achieve grin

"Thank you, how beautiful, and what a lovely sentiment!" <insert item into drawer, close drawer> smile

StepAwayFromTheEcclesCakes Sun 01-Dec-13 18:29:40

i think its a lovely idea. would it make a wall hanging in her room? if not pack nicely in a box (with moth repellant) and photos / keepsakes of great gran and kep until she is older, will be fascinating i am sure.

fluffyraggies Sun 01-Dec-13 18:30:55

Ungrateful is an odd word though. I don't think it's ungrateful to really not want something. You can be grateful for the time taken over something - but hate it all the same. Unappreciative is another thing entirely.

<loves to mull over language>

I was the one who suggested making up an allergy grin

I think the situation should be handled carefully to save feelings. FWIW I think it would be rude, possibly 'ungrateful' to accept and then abuse the item.

This is rather an unusual case - the making of a baby item out of a random dead lady's clothes (form the OPs point of view) which have been left in a loft for 10 years, without asking the recipient if they fancy the idea.

We're not just talking about Aunt Maud knitting a jumper in an dodgy colour here. It's quite a big deal, a quilt. It could be ginormous! (and ugly)

Thymeout Sun 01-Dec-13 18:32:07

Traditionally, quilts were made out of old clothes. You didn't go out and buy specially matching lengths of material. Part of their appeal is that they provide a link between the past and the present.

The fact that you had never met this relative is totally irrelevant. The clothes in this quilt will have belonged to your dd's great, great granny. I can imagine that it will have a special meaning for her one day.

Don't use it, or wash it. Put it away safely and perhaps ask for some photos of great, great granny to keep with it to show your dd when she's older.

It's a much more thoughtful gift than a Mothercare voucher.

Thymeout Sun 01-Dec-13 18:33:00

Sorry Stepaway - cross posted!

Thisisaghostlyeuphemism Sun 01-Dec-13 19:51:11

I still don't get why its creepy or icky...

WorrySighWorrySigh Sun 01-Dec-13 20:14:12

I find it odd that the clothes are being reverenced. These were an elderly lady's everyday clothes. Were they that special to the lady?

peppinagiro Sun 01-Dec-13 20:20:31

I really think a Mothercare voucher would be a lot more thoughtful. OP, it sounds like you don't have loads of space to be storing away 'thoughtful' items of dubious sentimental value that your DC may or may not but probably won't want in 18 years time. My family are hoarders too and the crap we've had offloaded on us out of their attics 'to put away for when she's older'. Put away WHERE?!

Personally I would try derailing the project, maybe by innocently remarking that I'd bought a lovely quilt for DC so another crimplene monstrosity one is superfluous TYVM. Failing that, vaccuum pack and store if you're feeling generous. But I'd probably just donate it to charity or something and tell SiL that it was a tragic casualty of a poomageddon incident.

soverylucky Sun 01-Dec-13 20:30:24

Yes - it is for the child. I am fascinated by family history and would love to have an object connected to an older family relative. You don't know it will be horrible.

wigglesrock Sun 01-Dec-13 20:32:17

I like crocheted blankets/throws etc. My granny got her friends & nuns she knew etc, to do me 3 or 4 when dd1 was born. I loved them, almost 9 years & 3 kids later they're still used if the kids are ill or fancy a cuddle. But I'm a bit confused re the old clothes - I'm not sure if I'd fancy a quilt made from Littlewoods slacks.

"You didn't go out and buy specially matching lengths of material. Part of their appeal is that they provide a link between the past and the present."

All fine - but fairly irrelevant if you simply don't like patchwork quilts.
I don't like whiskey. You could buy me a bottle of the finest, £1,000 whiskey, specially crafted from a long-dead monk's urine, and knowing all that wouldn't make me like it.

peppinagiro Sun 01-Dec-13 20:42:50

Seriously though, it won't stop with this one thing. Let this through the door, and it'll be a slippery slope to them offloading generations of hoarded tat on you.

Jux Sun 01-Dec-13 20:51:42

It may not be all crimplene horror though. It may be very beautiful material - silks, linens, velvets - especially as they are a well-off family. Your dh's relative may have shopped in all the best places and got really good clothes, designer stuff.

Could you say that you've got the colour scheme for the room/bed linen organised, and so could you at least look at the clothes to see which things would look best?

Oh dear. I made a quilt for my niece (not out of secondhand fabric, but only because I didn't have anything nice to hand). I didn't realize it was such a rude thing to do. It doesn't take years, either - few months, and I was fairly lazy about it.

Of course if it's hideous you do as said - especially if you don't like quilts no matter what (as SPB says) or if it turns out it's made of shite. But it doesn't strike me as a particularly out-there gift and, to be fair, I think the idea that someone should ask you first if you want a quilt, and offer to buy the fabric that you choose, is ridiculously precious.

MrsMook Sun 01-Dec-13 20:57:24

Imagines a quilt made of my DC's GG Grandma's clothes... Yes they were crimpline horrors, but it would be a very interesting textural and colour experience for baby to play with...

I like the idea of it being a link between the past and new generations. I have a few bits of my Great Grandma's jewelery, and my grandma has some bits that go back much further. It's lovely to keep that link of family history even when you haven't known people.

Maybe use it for a play mat, it wont matter then if it doesn't fit with your decor but its being used and not discarded, it will be seen as something useful and wanted even if its not to your taste.

lljkk Sun 01-Dec-13 21:06:19

I find it quite sad that someone doesn't like patchwork (!), and especially not made out of old fabric.

How addicted our culture is to "new" things or what?

FragglerockAmpersand Sun 01-Dec-13 21:07:06

Firstly, don't say 'icky' FFS

Secondly I don't think this is about a quilt. You're assuming the quilt's going to be shite. Why? Do you think your SIL lacks skill and taste? Isn't this more about your attitude to your DH's family?

Thirdly, why the references to crimpline slacks and old tights hmm Elderly women are not, for heaven's sake, gross old creatures off of Roald Dahl. Why aren't you wondering what wonderful fabrics she wore when she was younger, or even later in life? My DGM died recently and we've been looking at her beautiful silk blouses and velvet skirts and we;'re all looking forward to making lovely things out of them.

Fourthly, you clearly have no idea the thousands - literally THOUSANDS - of hours of care and skill that go into a (good) patchwork quilt. It's a very generous offer (assuming she knows what she's doing)

Fifthly, this is why patchwork quilts were invented, FGS. To make beautiful things out of old fabric.

Honestly I don't know what's wrong with some of you lot grin

valiumredhead Sun 01-Dec-13 21:09:19

I'm in the process of doing exactly the same with my grandmother's clothes. I couldn't bear to think of someone walking around wearing her old clothes but didn't want to 'waste' them either.

When it's finished I'll probably put it in the drawer with her other bits as it makes me sad to see it out. One day I might use it though.

Please accept it OP, your dd might cherish it one day.

But personal likes and dislikes are generally not a moral issue.

ParsleyTheLioness Sun 01-Dec-13 21:11:52

Just to put it out there...most people are given gifts they are not asked about beforehand. Maybe they do have a problem getting rid of things. But in this case they JUST MIGHT be trying to keep the memory of someone alive, in a nice way. Are you going to take them out and shoot them for it?! You can always put it away, as many others have said. Meh.

I love Elmer. If he died near me I just wouldn't turn him into a throw.

Personal likes and dislikes aren't a moral issue.

But everyone occasionally gets given a present they don't want and can't return. As a one-off it surely isn't a huge problem?

FragglerockAmpersand Sun 01-Dec-13 21:15:30

Likes and dislikes aren't a moral issue, fo sho.

Having the grace and good manners to accept a present you may or may not like, in order not to hurt someone's feelings, is a bit of a moral issue, though.

Thisisaghostlyeuphemism Sun 01-Dec-13 21:15:55

I get she doesn't like it. I just don't get why she thinks it's icky and creepy. And why others have said eww.

hiddenhome Sun 01-Dec-13 21:16:27

I bet it'll smell of mildew confused

ChunkyPickle Sun 01-Dec-13 21:17:37

Another thing thing to put out there - quilts are hard work, even made the fast way with nice new strips of fabric, making one out of old clothes is quite a mission so I reckon it's quite likely that this quilt will never be finished anyhow (speaking as someone with all sorts of half-crocheted blankets and miscellaneous other projects)

Accept it (should it appear), wrap it up and put it somewhere safe. Pass it on to someone in the next generation down when the opportunity presents itself.

2Tiredtocare Sun 01-Dec-13 21:19:50

Presumably it's not made from clothes relative was wearing when they died???

"Having the grace and good manners to accept a present you may or may not like, in order not to hurt someone's feelings, is a bit of a moral issue, though."

Oh I completely agree with that. And I would say thank you and admire it and probably use it and if truth be told, grow to love it. Then I'd make a start on her Christmas present - the 10 foot statue of liberty gorilla grin

FragglerockAmpersand Sun 01-Dec-13 21:22:43

grin Sure the gorilla'd look great in the vegetable patch!

Ach, I think it's a shame people place so much emphasis on new stuff, expensive stuff, stuff that matches precisely with their colour scheme, their ideas, their Pinterest boards...

There are more important things in life than colour swatches and Cath Kidston (that's a thing, right?).

He's an indoor gorilla. Jeez, some people.
I do tend to get new stuff, as an only child with only grandchildren (iyswim). But new isn't that crucial to me and I had plenty of passed down stuff and passed plenty of stuff down. It's not the non-newness that I'm not keen on. I'm not a 'fussy' person and it doesn't get much more fussy than patchwork.

And I can't bear Cath Kidston for exactly that reason. I may have been born in the 70s but I don't want to live there.

I quite fancy an indoor gorilla. He'd be company for DH.

(And, oh god, can't stand Cath Kidston.)

I am queen of the magnolia paint and tasteful yet dull prints on the walls. There's a reason for that. DH and I are the least creative, least artistic people we know.

tries to avoid obvious comparison of my own, hairy, DH and a gorilla
fails

TopHatAndTails Sun 01-Dec-13 21:30:43

I buy and sell vintage clothes so this seems a terrible waste to me grin

I would just hide it away if you don't like it but it may be gorgeous!

So within 10 minutes you know my DH is hairy and uncreative and lives in magnolia palace where the only patchwork is in the bookshelves.
I'm outed, aren't I?

I'll add you to the gorilla list LRD. I just need to buy a hammer and a shitload of pliable metal. And a "Gorilla hammering for IDIOTS" book

grin

BoffinMum Sun 01-Dec-13 21:42:32

I think it's a smidgin creepy but if it ends up being beautifully designed and made you may change your mind.

But I know what you mean about the hoarding. I just had the mother of all rows with DH as his family's century old crap has been piled up in our sitting room and/or dining room for eight months with me shuffling it painfully backwards and forwards periodically, and I just told him he did not have the right to fill the house with it any longer, half the house was mine and not his to take over, and he should either get a storage unit, get rid of other things to make space for it, or ditch it. It didn't end well but at least he put it in the loft. In my pique I threatened to decorate it all with tinsel and lights for the Christmas season, but he didn't see the funny side. sad He keeps being frosty and treating me like I am Hyacinth Bucket.

DoubleLifeIsALifeOfSorts Sun 01-Dec-13 21:47:20

If the lady died and was mummified in layer upon layer of tasteless man made fibre, slowly leaking through them leaving tide marks and uncertain stains, before becoming a dusty desiccated husk in the attic... Then yes, definite ick factor!

Perhaps she will prise apart the age felted layers of material apart using tweezers and aged leather gloves, before sewing them with love and cackling into a stained, musty and cloyingly soft quilt.

tchsmile

Or not!

Although given the propensity to keep everything, maybe they kept her too? shock

2Tiredtocare Sun 01-Dec-13 21:48:28

grin at double

Quoteunquote Sun 01-Dec-13 22:00:30

How lovely, hand made quilt, with a special story.

I think you have to smile sweetly and say thank you so much. As others have suggested it doesn't have to be out.

But if it's totally heinous you can always send it to the dry cleaner after a poo/vom incident where something 'awful' happens to it ... !

EduCated Sun 01-Dec-13 22:15:35

Ae they generally clean hoarders? As in, will the clothes have been properly stored in the attic so as not to be musty or mildewy?

LetsFaceTheMusicAndDance Sun 01-Dec-13 22:27:43

Gorilla over here please! He'd look a treat in the more exotic parts of my garden. How heavy will he be and will you be bringing a team of burly men? smile

Op it doesn't matter what you think of the quilt as it isn't yours to give away. It's for the baby . She is related to the old lady and might love the quilt when she's older and has her own children to wrap in it.

My nan knitted me a panda when I was born. If my cold hearted mother hadn't disposed of it when I was in uni I would have loved to give it to my sons. Sometimes things skip a generation.

traininthedistance Sun 01-Dec-13 22:44:01

Thanks everyone for the replies! I thought this might get some polarised responses, and I do totally get why lots of people think it sounds a lovely idea and I'm being ungrateful. I do like patchwork actually, and have made it myself when younger so know how time-consuming it is. It's actually partly that that frustrates me - to think of such a lot if effort going into something I feel very ambivalent about and then to run the risk of SIL feeling hurt (I have no intention of being rude, would never say I didn't want it or pretend it had got damaged, there isn't really any option apart from saying yes and how lovely etc. but I know SIL will want to know we're using it or displaying it, will ask after it and so on and will feel slighted if it's not in evidence. I hate the thought if her feeling upset.)

It is definitely from everyday clothes, not fine materials - they aren't really stuff that could go even to a charity shop apparently - SIL got the idea from American t-shirt quilts. She doesn't normally make patchwork, so I think you could all be right that it will be such slow going that it may never appear....

We really don't have any space (DD's room basically has a cot plus chair in it!) and I think even asking someone else to store it would upset SIL! Agh!

My nan was a hoarder too and was always trying to give ys stuff she didn't really want but wanted someone else to take and DH's family are very similar. I guess I think about it the way that ImperialBlether and others on the thread put it - it's not so much as a gift as if she had thought about what we might really want for DD, or asked us. Because it's loaded with emotional significance for her (but not for us - DH isn't keen on the idea either!) it's not quite like getting a Christmas present you don't care for, it's like it comes with a weight of other people's emotional attachments which makes me uncomfortable. It seems less like "beautiful patchwork quilt for DD's future family connection" and more "I have an emotional attachment to something that I'm going to make other people caretake for me in the guise of a gift", if that makes sense.

valiumredhead Sun 01-Dec-13 22:50:18

Store it under your mattress and get it out when she visits.

It would be very rude to do anything but accept a gift graciously.

I can see why you think this is creepy but also that it might be an amazing bit of family and social history. Wait and see - it may never turn up, given how long quilting takes, and if it does you can decide whether to put it away in a deep dark drawer until dd is older or to use it every day.

We have various bits from dh's family - the piece I'm most moved by is a sampler made by a girl whose name would otherwise be forgotten, but who is clearly the source of dh's Granddad's unusual middle name. Maybe one day your dd's granddaughter will cherish the quilt.

traininthedistance Sun 01-Dec-13 22:57:15

Sorry for typos! On phone and autocorrect keeps making changes....

Oh and they are definitely in bin bags in DH's aunt's very mildewy loft.

I do get why people think we're BU, though, I do think it sounds like it ought to be a lovely gift, just feel very odd about it.

traininthedistance Sun 01-Dec-13 23:05:42

And WorrySighWorrySigh your post made me laugh at "much wobbly-lipped emotion" - that is exactly what DH's family are like (and some of mine too, except mine aren't at all well off). DH's uncle is a big proponent of the "great-grannie's clothes must not be thrown out but must be preserved by someone in the family (but I don't want them in my loft)" - but was straight in (like literally the next day) when great-grannie died for the antique paintings and furniture which he has absolutely no trouble at all keeping in his house! ;)

traininthedistance Sun 01-Dec-13 23:22:52

StealthPolarBear ironically DD loves Elmer and a throw made out of him would be just the ticket grin

Maybe I could commission a gorilla for SIL....

ClaudiusMaximus Sun 01-Dec-13 23:24:43

The quilt will never appear. If they don't have the time, will, motivation to sort out their crap upstairs, which is a long process, then they won't have the time will or motivation to commit to making something like this, also a long process.

Don't worry, it'll never happen!!

Idespair Sun 01-Dec-13 23:27:38

It's gross and completely weird.
That's my helpful contribution.

Rosieliveson Sun 01-Dec-13 23:32:39

It would give me the willies but suppose its very meaningful for them. I think smaths idea is the best solution ... receive gratefully, store away but I would give back if SIL ever has a child "you made it, it should be your child's heirloom now"

WorrySighWorrySigh Sun 01-Dec-13 23:42:05

It will appear only it wont be finished. It will be a secondhand carrier bag stuffed with bits of musty old cloth sewn together.

I absolutely understand what you mean about the "weight of emotional attachment". Be on your guard for the future - this could just be the start. Who knows what toys-that-have-been-saved-until-a-new-child-arrives-in-the-family or other hand-me-downs-looking-for-a-good-home are waiting in the wings from this possession-focused family.

Be especially aware of anything where you are asked to save it and give it back when your kid has grown out of it. (My DM has done this on toys... and a friend on kids clothes (!)...). If its coming with such conditions - don't accept it. Its too hard to keep track of things once they enter the maelstrom of the household, and the worry if they get damaged.

Unfortunately I don't think you have any such choice around this quilt at this stage, for diplomacy's sake. But yes, I shudder with the alarm bells. It would be nice if you could make the decisions about the possessions in your own house - stay or go - without the weight of someone else's emotional attachment hovering around them.

missinglalaland Sun 01-Dec-13 23:52:17

ClaudiusMaximus, good point!

valiumredhead Mon 02-Dec-13 07:58:46

It takes bloody ages to make a quilt, it'll be years before you get it anywaywink

peppinagiro Mon 02-Dec-13 08:49:05

My aunt has made me some absolutely beautiful quilts that we love. The difference is she thought about us when she made them and considered what we might like, and asked what colours we had used for the house so it would match. Also, she is actually good at it.

I think the suggestion of offering to go through the clothes with sil to 'help pick' is good - if she has any social skills at all she'll clock your face when greeted with the mildewy crimplene and cheesecloth and will backtrack. Or you can fake real dismay at none of them being in a good enough state/right for whatever reason. Ir's a waste of a day but at least it saves you years of staring at the monstrosity.

Or could you go down the line of getting them to store it for you? That works a treat. 'Oh it's gorgeous! I'm worried it'll get ruined here, could it live at MiL's so DD can use it as a treat when she stays there?' or similar lies.

ClaudiusMaximus Mon 02-Dec-13 09:00:21

<nods knowingly>

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now